Braid: Onerous-pressed household docs get UCP guarantees of assist, new pay system

Albertans have heard a whole lot of well being care vows over time. This time they really have to be saved

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Household docs in Alberta are wired, and infrequently transfer out.

They really feel like mice on a wheel, racing to do the job to allow them to pay the payments and earn their earnings whereas nonetheless serving their sufferers nicely.

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A brand new examine by a docs’ advisory panel exhibits vividly that Alberta shouldn’t be a fascinating place to be a health care provider in a main care apply.

There are lots of causes, however one is the lingering status hit from the UCP’s surprising cancellation of the physicians’ pay deal in 2020.

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Amongst household docs who graduated from Alberta faculties between 2015 and 2019, solely 62.7 per cent registered to practise right here in 2021.

Of that group, 18.3 per cent went to B.C. and 14.5 per cent to Ontario.

Retention charges in different provinces are a lot greater; 84.7 per cent in Ontario, 78.1 per cent in B.C., 74.4 per cent in Quebec and 72.2 per cent in Manitoba.

A report in March this 12 months confirmed 42 unfilled residency positions in household medication.

British Columbia had two vacant spots, Saskatchewan none.

One great younger physician was working as a locum in a Calgary household clinic. Requested if she’d stick with the apply, she stated no, she’s shifting together with her household to Australia.

For a lot of months after the chaos of COVID-19 and the betrayal of the pay deal, the UCP authorities favored to assert issues had been high quality, extra docs had been coming in than shifting out.

Some do arrive. Well being Minister Adriana LaGrange stated Wednesday that there are 109 new household docs.

However many others are being misplaced to household medication with out leaving residence.

Docs are retiring early, or giving up household apply to deal with particular medical niches the place there’s much less stress.

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Each medical system in Canada is pressured however ours faces issues the UCP actively triggered.

They broke the system. Now they’ve to repair the system.

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Regardless of persevering with bloopers — particularly the lab testing fiasco — there are constructive indicators for main care.

LaGrange introduced main modifications Wednesday, together with the creation of a main well being division inside Alberta Well being. For the primary time, the household sector may have a direct voice in authorities.

Main steps had been introduced to enhance Indigenous well being care and defeat racism within the wider system.

Household care docs and nurse practitioners will likely be eligible for as much as $10,000 a 12 months to assist handle their administration and inflow of sufferers.

All of the actions consequence from large session with household physicians, Indigenous care specialists, AHS and authorities.

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Two years in the past the docs and the federal government weren’t speaking in any respect — they had been shouting. LaGrange appears decided to place all that previously.

Docs have begged for years to be included in any talks about main change. They had been utterly shut out twice, throughout former premier Ralph Klein’s period, and once more with ex-premier Jason Kenney and his well being minister, Tyler Shandro.

Each occasions the deep freeze introduced chaos. Now, LaGrange appears decided to not make the identical mistake.

Health Minister Adriana LaGrange with Drs. Noel DaCunha, Janet Reynolds and Tyler White
(L-R) Dr. Noel DaCunha, Well being Minister Adriana LaGrange, Dr. Janet Reynolds and Dr. Tyler White communicate throughout a press convention in Calgary on Wednesday, October 18, 2023. Jim Wells/Postmedia

No one in Alberta has been extra crucial of system issues and the federal government than Dr. Paul Parks, a Medication Hat emergency doctor who not too long ago took over as president of the Alberta Medical Affiliation.

“The final three years or so have been disastrous on the health-care system,” he stated in an interview.

“We now have to be blunt and sincere about that. However I’m optimistic and hopeful that this authorities at the moment, and this minister are going to take that point to behave and are studying from the previous.”

Parks says he’s already had constructive conferences with LaGrange. He was happy with components of Wednesday’s announcement.

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However he says the large general modifications — particularly in pay for household docs — are wanted quickly, as early as subsequent spring’s provincial funds. In any other case, the issues will likely be dangerously entrenched.

Dr. Paul Parks
Dr. Paul Parks, president of the Alberta Medical Affiliation. Equipped/AMA

Parks feels the province has to maneuver away from fee-for-service fee to a system that compensates docs primarily based on the wants of their general panel of sufferers.

This creates far more flexibility for treating advanced sufferers and includes different practitioners, corresponding to nurse practitioners.

A transfer in that course was promised Wednesday, and not using a timeline.

Albertans have heard a whole lot of health-care vows over time. This time they really have to be saved.

Don Braid’s column seems often within the Herald

X: @DonBraid

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Letters, Oct. 11: Premier failing to maintain her massive guarantees

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Keep in mind within the final provincial election when Premier Danielle Smith and Co. have been making all types of guarantees relating to fixing our damaged health-care system? It certain isn’t mounted, and even within the triage space of issues to be executed.

Cash remains to be being flushed down the drain (our lab service fiasco — what number of misspent tens of millions?)

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I’ve waited 5 months to have an appointment with an ophthalmologist to be instructed I’ve cataracts, which I already knew — that’s the reason I went within the first place. Now I get to attend one other yr to have the surgical procedure. I’m a working senior who can’t see correctly.

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Why does the federal government put restrictions on the quantity of those surgical procedures that may be carried out in a yr? You’ve got an growing old inhabitants and a few of us are nonetheless working and contributing to the coffers.

Now Smith needs us to let her handle our pensions? I wouldn’t let her arrange my grocery listing.

Susan Terborg, Calgary

Alberta authorities insurance policies are baffling

The Alberta authorities’s plan to withdraw Albertans from the CPP, the world’s best-performing pension fund, bewilders me.

The federal government’s reopening of functions for coal mines in mountain headwaters, our most susceptible landscapes, confounds me. Its continued conflict with medical doctors, nurses and different health-care suppliers, who we rely upon for our lives, dumbfounds me. The ban on wind and solar energy initiatives, that carry prosperity to our economic system, perplexes me. The UCP’s common unwillingness to control, after preventing so laborious to get into energy, flummoxes me.

The Alberta authorities’s success in gaslighting its personal residents flabbergasts me. 

Richard Quinlan, Lethbridge

Elitist commentary is unwelcome

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Re: Metropolis council takes Trudeau’s housing bait, Opinion, Oct. 5

The argument of this column is mainly that policymakers mustn’t take heed to the experiences of their constituents. Chris Nelson stated as a lot about inexpensive housing and even racial justice by way of the Black Lives Matter motion.

Publishing this in Canada’s third-most various metropolis, the place so many are struggling to search out housing, is insensitive and solely caters to the rich and established.

Jonas Cornelsen, Calgary

Louder bells can enhance bike security

The tiny bicycle bells that go “tink tink” very softly must be banned. Folks typically can not hear them. Cyclists then barrel previous considering they have been heard, which isn’t the case. In addition they typically go means too shut and startle the walkers.

The old style bells that we had as youngsters must be the one ones allowed, or the horn that you just squeeze the bulb as an alternative choice.

All cyclists have to respect the velocity limits. It doesn’t take a lot to significantly injure an individual and presumably kill them. Does somebody need to be significantly damage or killed for one thing to be executed about these points?

Phillip Bass, Calgary

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Letters, Could 10: NDP wants to elucidate the way it pays for well being guarantees

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The NDP’s health-care platform has a acknowledged objective to permit one million or extra Albertans to have entry to a doctor inside a day or two, by hiring extra health-care staff and well being specialists in addition to different enhancements that may price a whole bunch of tens of millions of {dollars}.

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They are saying this will probably be carried out by not growing private earnings taxes or introducing a provincial gross sales tax. So as to finance these prices, it should require both will increase in company taxes that may discourage funding in companies or huge debt to be paid for by future generations of taxpayers.

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They have to be trustworthy with us about these realities.

Murray Hunter, Calgary

Transit trumps handouts for the rich

Re: Inexperienced Line mission misplaced in occasion centre hype, Opinion, Mat 5

In fact George Brookman is against the Inexperienced Line: he has “little question it should generate losses.” Think about, utilizing tax cash to subsidize public transit.

George requested his buddies and so they all know the occasion centre is a superb concept, “and there’s a good likelihood it should generate income for the town.” Think about utilizing tax cash to subsidize million-dollar gamers and billionaire house owners.

Rob Butler, Calgary

Senate seat distribution is unfair

Western Canada is under-represented within the Senate. Altogether we now have solely 24 Senate seats. The Atlantic provinces, with a smaller inhabitants and smaller geographic space, have 30 seats. Ontario and Quebec have 24 seats every.

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One of many authentic functions of the Senate was to allow honest regional illustration. It will be finest if we lump Ontario and Quebec collectively within the Senate as a area known as Central Canada, with 16 seats for Quebec and 17 for Ontario. The Canadian Structure must be adjusted for honest play to occur right here.

I say 33 seats for Western Canada, 33 for Central Canada, and 33 for the Maritimes, with two seats for every of the territories. The present distribution is giving Quebec and Ontario every a giant fats and biased head.

Sean Murray, Victoria

UCP made a mistake with Smith

The UCP made an enormous mistake by choosing Danielle Smith to be its chief. I say that as a UCP member and a small-business proprietor.

We might have had an skilled, pragmatic, and centrist premier like former finance minister Travis Toews, who would have moved our province ahead, however no, the right-wing populist MAGA “base” wished their Tucker Carlson/Donald Trump/Sarah Palin determine.

Smith’s views haven’t modified since she was a radio host and columnist, and if she succeeds in getting re-elected, she is going to go proper again to her excessive agenda, which incorporates non-public well being care, lobbying for Freedom Convoy criminals to get a free cross, kicking out the RCMP, taking our pensions to create a provincial income company, giving billionaire NHL crew house owners just a few hundred million extra in taxpayer {dollars}, and no matter else her company lobbyists ask her to do.

Don’t let her idiot you once more.

Bob Buchan, Calgary

Breakenridge: How will subsequent premier pay for all these election guarantees as oil worth retains dropping?

Already plainly the guarantees being made by Danielle Smith and Rachel Notley come at fairly a price — and we’ve nonetheless acquired greater than three weeks to go earlier than the election

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An election marketing campaign with out spending bulletins would go away fairly a void, so it’s definitely commonplace that the leaders of Alberta’s two most important events have crammed the primary week of the marketing campaign with all types of guarantees.

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In any case, Albertans should know what the assorted leaders would do if they’re to steer Alberta’s subsequent authorities. On the similar time, nevertheless, it’s not unreasonable that these guarantees be tethered to actuality. Sadly, the world that these guarantees inhabit appears indifferent from the truth by which we presently reside.

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Not all guarantees essentially include a price ticket. However already plainly the guarantees being made by Danielle Smith and Rachel Notley come at fairly a price — and we’ve nonetheless acquired greater than three weeks to go earlier than the election.

Amid the flurry of bulletins final week was some extra sobering information on the commodity markets entrance. The benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil worth dipped under $70 per barrel mid-week, even falling under $68 per barrel in early buying and selling on Thursday. The latest Alberta funds, which delivered a modest surplus regardless of file ranges of useful resource income, relied on a forecast of $79 per barrel. Something underneath $75 per barrel places us into deficit territory.

Provided that we’re already closely reliant on vitality income to maintain file ranges of spending, how precisely are these guarantees to be fulfilled? If the plan is to easily run giant deficits as soon as once more, Albertans should know that. However we’re being informed in any other case.

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The UCP has tabled laws that may prohibit deficits. UCP Chief Danielle Smith has promised laws to require a referendum for any new tax improve and likewise promised final week to create a separate, decrease tax bracket (RIP, flat tax) for these incomes as much as $60,000 a 12 months (at an annual price of $1 billion). Final week additionally noticed the UCP announce a $1,200 “signing bonus” for staff who come to Alberta to fill sure job vacancies.

Maybe the UCP has plans to considerably lower spending, however to date all we’ve seen is pats on the again for the quantity of spending within the final funds and commitments that — not less than so far as well being care is worried — there’s extra to return.

The NDP, in the meantime, has an identical downside. NDP Chief Rachel Notley final week promised Albertans that she wouldn’t elevate taxes on people (companies, look out) and he or she has beforehand dedicated to delivering balanced budgets and eventually getting off the royalty income roller-coaster. But, the NDP has additionally made commitments of great investments in well being care and schooling.

Who is aware of, maybe we’ll see oil costs once more surge later this 12 months and are available to the rescue of the politician and the guarantees that emerge victorious on this election marketing campaign. Lord is aware of we’ve seen that story earlier than right here in Alberta.

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But when issues keep at or close to present ranges, that may pose some vital challenges for the subsequent authorities. As College of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe notes, “any proposal that lowers income or will increase expenditures will increase our reliance on pure useful resource revenues” — and clearly there was no scarcity of each such proposals.

We should be lowering that reliance. Oil costs within the vary of $70 or $75 per barrel nonetheless imply a major income haul for the Alberta authorities. That it as an alternative leaves us scrambling to ship a balanced funds is an indictment of each our priorities and the state of our political debate.

Hopefully, we will hear extra from the aspiring premiers as to how greatest to rectify this case and their very own degree of dedication to doing so. A technique of demonstrating such a dedication is to point out some restraint and modesty of their marketing campaign guarantees. What we’ve seen to date will solely exacerbate the issue.

“Afternoons with Rob Breakenridge” airs weekdays from 12:30 to three p.m. on QR Calgary and a pair of to three p.m. on 630CHED

[email protected]

Twitter: @RobBreakenridge


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Preview: Margaritaville guarantees to have audiences singing within the automobile on the best way house

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Rehearsing for an enormous stage musical like Theatre Calgary’s Escape to Margaritaville can get a bit gruelling and Katie McMillan has the callouses to show it.

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In Escape to Margaritaville, which runs within the Max Bell Theatre till Might 13, McMillan performs Rachel, a younger, career-minded lady who agrees to accompany her buddy Tammy (Michele Shuster) on a trip to the Caribbean island of Margaritaville earlier than Tammy will get married to her controlling fiance. It’s in Margaritaville that Rachel and Tammy meet part-time singer Tully (Nathan Gibb Johnson) and bartender Brick (Glen Mills). The viewers has two hours to marvel if these good-time seashore boys can win the hearts of the massive metropolis vacationers.

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The jukebox musical, which had a quick six-month run on Broadway in 2018, options such chart-topping Jimmy Buffett songs as Margaritaville, Cheeseburger in Paradise, It’s 5 O’Clock Someplace, Fins, Volcano and Come Monday.

“Even when somebody doesn’t know a complete lot of Jimmy Buffet songs, they may know Margaritaville. It’s a traditional and it lets them understand how a lot enjoyable his music is,” says McMillan, who shortly turned a fan of Buffet’s slower, sweeter ballads like Coast of Marseilles.

“It’s throughout that music that Rachel has to make an enormous resolution, so I actually have needed to hearken to these lyrics and so they’re lovely. Nathan sings and performs the guitar for this one and for a number of others.”

It’s that very same guitar that gave McMillan her finger callouses.

“I needed to study to play guitar for Three Chords the place Tully teaches Rachel to play his guitar however I used to be supplied the choice of additionally taking part in guitar for A Pirate Seems to be at Forty, a music close to the top of the present. Three Chords is strictly what it says however Pirate has a number of chords and is far more troublesome.”

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For Pirate, Gibbs and fellow forged member Alex Smith got here to the rescue.

“Each Nathan and Alex are superb musicians. Thank heavens for them. I had been attempting to study by myself from YouTube to little avail. That is the type of firm we’ve for Margaritaville. Everyone seems to be there for you.”

McMillan says this actually shouldn’t have stunned her as a result of a lot of the performers who’re primarily based in Calgary know one another by means of StoryBook Theatre the place they honed their efficiency expertise, and they’re now half of a big circle of pals.

That is McMillan’s third mainstage present for Theatre Calgary. She was additionally in Mary and Max: A Musical and The Louder We Get and was additionally a member of the ensemble for Ragtime: A Live performance Efficiency.

“Margaritaville is the primary time I get to play an grownup for Theatre Calgary. In Mary and Max, I used to be a baby and in The Louder We Get I used to be a youngster. Lastly, I’m taking part in my age which is why I perceive the entire setup for Margaritaville. I’m on the age the place a number of of my pals are getting engaged and this concept of a final trip with pals doesn’t appear so farfetched.”

McMillan has by no means truly been on an unique seashore trip however “simply being on the set Tamara Marie Kucheran has created for us makes me really feel as if I’ve been to the Caribbean.”

The musical boasts songs like Why Don’t We Get Drunk, It’s 5 O’Clock Someplace and My Head Hurts however McMillan insists “individuals will probably be stunned as a result of the present additionally has an excellent deal to say about friendship and following one’s goals and people are two issues which have at all times meant an excellent deal in my life and I don’t assume I’m alone in that.”

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Escape to Margaritaville is a particular fan present for Theatre Calgary. In January 2022, Theatre Calgary ran a contest that requested audiences to decide on a present they wished to finish the 2022/2023 season and Escape to Margaritaville gained arms down. TC’s government director Maya Choldin says she thinks Margaritaville struck a chord as a result of “this metropolis is prepared for a little bit of an escape from the chilly to the tropics, to enjoyable and pleasure. It is a present that may have individuals singing within the automobile on their means house from the theatre with a smile on their faces.”

Tickets for Escape to Margaritaville will be bought at

With eye on Calgary's core, Notley guarantees $200M for downtown college campus

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With the security and vibrancy of Calgary’s downtown squarely within the crosshairs in current weeks, Alberta NDP Chief Rachel Notley reiterated her promise for a $200-million college campus in Calgary’s downtown to drive innovation and financial diversification.

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“This campus would help the creation of an innovation district that brings post-secondaries, entrepreneurs, startups, enterprise incubators and accelerators collectively to facilitate collaboration and innovation,” she stated.

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Notley stated this could assist tackle the 32 per cent emptiness in downtown workplaces whereas bringing financial stimulus to the core.

The College of Calgary already has a downtown campus and Bow Valley Faculty’s foremost campus can be within the core, whereas SAIT is simply to the north.

Challenge mild on particulars

The venture is mild on particulars. There are not any plans on the place the campus might be and no indication of what post-secondary establishments might be concerned. Notley didn’t shut the door on out-of-province faculties being related to the ability, however stated precedence could be given to Alberta-based faculties.

Scholar housing would additionally probably be included within the venture, which may embody the growth of present campuses and the repurposing of vacant workplace towers.

Notley referenced Concordia College of Edmonton’s $50-million growth and MacEwan College’s $190-million enterprise faculty venture for a way they developed a $200-million funds for the venture.

There isn’t any timeline for this to return to fruition if the NDP kinds authorities following the election in Might. Notley stated planning would start inside months, and potential repurposing of workplace house may start within the fall.

UCP minister says he hasn’t heard about want from faculties

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The provincial authorities launched the CORE report final 12 months that prioritized bringing post-secondaries downtown.

Superior Schooling Minister Demetrios Nicolaides stated the province is already speaking with native universities and schools. He stated none has instructed them they need or want a campus like this. He stated he has been working with the U of C to increase its structure and planning program within the downtown, however added there’s already robust illustration there.

“I’m blissful to take course from our universities and schools about what tasks must be funded, the place {dollars} ought to go and how much tasks have to be supported, slightly than arising with my very own and attempting to compel the schools and schools to comply with that,” he instructed Postmedia.

[email protected]

Twitter: @JoshAldrich03